Burning Bright

Many of you joined with me last year in praying for peace and salvation for the men and women of Northern Iraq. We did a 6 week Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target challenge asking God to break through in power in the Islamic State.

Since that time, IS has continued to expand. The Church is responding. Please take a few minutes to read through the link below. It is nice to see the Church being mobilized in such a powerful way.

http://www.burn24-7.com/articles/operation-light-a-candle#.VMEgV4m9LCR

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Prayer Target Challenge Finished

Hi friends,

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 6 week Prayer Target Challenge asking for salvation and deliverance for the men and women of the Islamic State. Life continues to be difficult in the Iraq and Syria as I.S. advances into new territory and consolidates power in existing strongholds. HOWEVER, we also have reports of our Christian brothers and sisters providing remarkable witness and testimony to the Lordship of Jesus, even to the point of death.

Even though the prayer challenge is finished, I invite you all to continue praying for salvation for the men and women of the Islamic State and power for our brothers and sisters on the front lines. This conflict is far from over and the eternal destiny of countless lives hang in the balance. Intercession is our most glorious privilege and our most labor-some work.

In our work of intercession, here is some encouragement for you from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ… And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.”

Whenever we pray, we always pray from a high place – seated with Christ on God’s own Throne and with the full resources of Heaven at our disposal. Intercession is not groveling to an angry or reticent God – it is strategizing with our Heavenly Father for the in-breaking of His Kingdom on the Earth. Intercession is a joyful privilege when we pray from Heaven because, when we see the Enemy’s plans from God’s perspective we understand what David said in Psalms 2, “The one enthroned in heaven laughs, the Lord scoffs at them [the ones conspiring and plotting against him].”

God is Almighty. God is Sovereign. What the Enemy intends for evil, He will use for good in the lives of those that love Him. Things look absolutely terrible on the earth right now, but God reigns Supreme over it all. His Kingdom will prevail AND we have a part to play. James tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask.” That is pretty startling really because it means that there are some things God would willingly give us, but only if we humble ourselves enough to ask for them. Things can turn out a number of different ways in the Middle East – I’m contending for the version that brings the most number of people into Eternal Life. I hope you will war for that with me.

Thanks for praying friends.

Ben

Prayer Target Challenge: Week 4

Hi friends,

We are four weeks in to our 6 week challenge. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for the men and women of ISIS to come to know Jesus as Lord. While we don’t see much slow down of ISIS activities in the news, we trust that those prayers are not without effect.

I got a magazine in the mail this week from Voice of the Martyrs. The issue dealt with the recent activities of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and did a wonderful job of outlining the origins of the group. I highly recommend checking out their site. You can sign up (for free) to receive the newest issue of their newsletter. The title of the copy you want is “I am n.”

ISIS, now just IS or Islamic State, has it origins in al-Qaida. It appears that both al-Qaida and the Taliban kicked out the leaders of IS for their brutality and violence. Now IS is the largest, most well funded extremist group in the area. It has a particularly effective social media strategy that has successfully recruited radicalized Muslims (men and women) from around the world. IS has now captured control of 1/3 of Iraq’s territory in addition to parts of Syria.

One thing the VOM newsletter draws out is how faithful the Christians in Iraq and Syria are. Here are families that could, in many cases, flee, yet they choose to stay. They know that refusing to deny Jesus as Lord is a death sentance, yet they stay to preach, live and care for the wounded. They wake up knowing each day could be their last, yet they get up and go about their business trusting in God – not to save them from an earthly death, but to give them eternal life. The world isn’t worthy of such saints.

Please continue to pray my friends. Pray for the salvation of the IS fighters and supernatural empowerment for our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria. I do hope that the LORD protects them, but I also know that they do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. They are the overcomers, the victorious ones.

Prayer Target Challenge: Week 3

Thanks again to everyone who is participating in our 6 week Prayer Target Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to pray as often as possible for the salvation of ISIS militants. I’ve promised to comb through the news and post anything of note. So far, we’ve gotten one report of a former ISIS militant who has given his life to Christ – thank you Jesus!

For those of you following the “Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target” model of intetcession, it is time to review your trigger. If you find that your irritant has died down/gone away – great! It is time to find another one. But please don’t limit your intercession to just those times. It is pretty bad over in Iraq and Syria – our brothers and sisters can use as much comfort and support as we can give them.

One other reminder. This is a spiritual battle, not a physical one. As Paul says in Ephesians, “we don’t fight against flesh and blood.” The men and women of ISIS are not our true enemy, therefore we aren’t praying primarily for a physical military victory and we won’t rejoice in airstrikes or raids. We are waging war against the demonic powers, principalities and ideologies that have set themselves up against King Jesus and deluded these men into thinking that their violence is actually service to God. So our prayer must be that God will reveal Himself to them in dreams, visions, angelic encounters or through His people and that the people of ISIS will come to know the One True God. Pray also for our brothers and sisters experiencing persecution. I am so encouraged by their stories of faithfulness, even to the point of death. May they receive reward for their suffering and obedience. Amen.

Prayer Target Challenge: A Ray of Hope

Hello again friends, I have some good news for you this time. God continues to prove His faithfulness and the riches of His Grace. I got the following email from a reader in Israel. I thought I’d share with you. Thanks again to everyone who is praying and tracking this with us. It is so encouraging to get reports like this.

“I just read your Prayer Target Challenge blog post. I wanted to send you a little encouragement 🙂 Recently several staff went to Cyprus for a gathering… This was a gathering for Christians from the Middle East that are building houses of prayer. There were people from Egypt, Iraq, Israel, …. I can’t give names or specifics but a friend of mine met someone there who was a former ISIS member who had come to know Jesus as his Savior! He was a totally transformed man and so full of the love of Christ. It was a pretty radical testimony!

Also, if you feel led add Nazareth to your prayer list. It has been said by many I know living there that Nazareth is the center for the Arab world. Many look to them for how to respond to things in the world and to form their political opinions. Recently some ISIS flags were found being flown in Nazareth, and there are recent reports a few young arab men from Nazareth that went to Syria to fight with ISIS.

I’m keeping my ears open for the testimonies! I recently had some friends from Israel that went to Turkey & Iraq to help at the Refugee camps! I’ll share some of their testimonies after I get together with them!”

Prayer Target Challenge: Week One

Hi friends, a quick update for those of you following along with our Prayer Target Challenge – a six week challenge to pray for the members of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to discover Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

This week has seen a lot of bad news. ISIS continues to push outwards, expanding towards Baghdad and the Turkish border. A growing number Muslim teenage girls are making the trip to Iraq and Syria to marry the fighters and fight in jihad. The Iraqi army continues to crumble and many of the high-end weapons the U.S. gave to equip Iraq are ending up in the hands of ISIS. Additionally, ISIS and other al-Qaida offshoots (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb) have begun targeted kidnapping campaigns, abducting people whose government’s are known to pay ransom for citizens in an attempt to raise money for their war efforts.

So, with that all in mind, it is time to pray.

I encourage everyone to continue praying for the salvation of ISIS militants. I’ve felt particularly called to pray for Jesus to encounter them in dreams, visions or through angelic manifestations. These men hunger for a new world, a better world – and the only way they are going to find it in the Kingdom of God.

Don’t give up friends. Weeks like this remind me that we really are in a battle and the weapons we have are especially powerful to demolish demonic strongholds and everything that sets itself up against Jesus. Keep praying and I’ll check in with you again next week.

Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target Update and Challenge

Last week, I wrote about a concept/spiritual warfare strategy known as Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target. You can read the original post here. I wanted to update you on how things have been going and to offer you a chance to experiment with me. First, the update:

Update
I’m impressed with how effective this strategy is at removing the Prayer Trigger. As I stated in my previous post, I wanted to have better control over my thought life so I chose lustful thoughts as my trigger. I just completed my third workout for the week and only prayed about 5 times – and that is because I was taking any opportunity as an excuse to pray. I can’t believe how quickly my thought life has snapped into shape. What used to feel humiliating and overwhelming now seems insignificant and easily manageable.

Since it is the two week mark, it is time to reevaluate my trigger. Obviously, with such great progress I need to find a new one. Since it has gotten colder here in Iowa, I think I’ll mark “talking about the weather” my new trigger. So anytime anyone (including myself) mentions the weather, it will trigger me to pray. Which brings me to the Challenge/Experiment portion of this post.

My Challenge to You
I’d like to challenge you to join me for a 6 week Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target Experiment. You can choose whatever trigger you’d like, but I’m asking you to join me in praying for salvation for the leaders of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the news and let you know of anything that looks like a tangible response to our prayers. Things I’ll be looking for: the leaders of ISIS submitting their lives to Christ, mass desertions of troops from ISIS, infighting/confusion amongst ISIS forces or any other major story I come across.

I’ll keep doing a weekly update on Saturdays to let you know how things are going for me and to share any stories that I find. I’d love to hear from you too. Let me know if you agree to the challenge by “liking” this post or commenting below. And let me know the progress you’re making with your Prayer Triggers.

Have a great weekend friends!

Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target

Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target is a 10 minute teaching by a man named Arthur Burk. You can watch it here I really like Arthur’s stuff. Some folks might think it is “strange,” “weird” or “out there,” but I have found it to be practical, Biblically grounded and, above all, effective.

Prayer Trigger, Prayer Target (for those of you who chose not to watch the video) works like this:

(1) Choose a prayer trigger. Something that annoys the crap out of you is ideal.

(2) Choose someone to pray for (your prayer target). Go for the highest of the high or the lowest of the low. Choose someone you admire, respect and want to be like or choose someone so wicked you know it would be a miracle for them to find Jesus. If you chose the Godly person, pray for intimacy and/or power. If you chose the unGodly person, pray for salvation.

(3) Whenever you are triggered, launch out a 3 second prayer at your target. It can be spoken or unspoken. The key is to keep it short so that you can do it quickly and often.

(4) Give it two weeks and review. If you aren’t triggering often anymore, choose a new trigger, keep the same target. Expect things to get worse before they get better.

Here is an example from my life.

Prayer Trigger: lustful thoughts (I work out at a college gym three times per week and have the opportunity to be triggered about every 30 seconds.)

Prayer Target: power for Bill Johnson, pastor of Redding, CA

Whenever I’m triggered (i.e. am aware of a lustful thought) I launch out this prayer: “Power for Bill. Make cancer flee at his touch.” I sometimes pray more or for others things, but that is my “go to” prayer. I got really aggressive with this and started launching out prayers between every set, regardless of trigger. Pretty soon, I was lifting with all dudes – seriously.

What I need to remember, though, is that beautiful women aren’t my enemy. Lustful thoughts are. I’ve been at this for about a week and have noticed a marked decrease in triggers, both in the gym and outside it. I’ll let you know how the next week goes.

Until then, have at it and let me know your experiences.